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MLB suspends three pitchers for use of banned substances

Houston Astros rookie David Paulino as well as minor leaguers Joseph Colon of Cleveland and Joan Gregorio of San Francisco have been handed drug suspensions by Major League Baseball.

Paulino, who is the only one currently in the majors, received an 80-game ban after testing positive for Boldenone, an anabolic steroid. His penalty began with Saturday night's game against the New York Yankees.

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Colon was cited for a synthetic drug whose effect is similar to that of testosterone. Gregorio showed evidence of the anabolic steroid Stanozolol. They have both been banned for the rest of the season.

Also banned under the major league drug program this year were Pittsburgh All-Star outfielder Starling Marte and Philadelphia pitcher Elniery Garcia.

There have been 47 suspensions this year under the minor league program.

Colon is a 27-year-old right-hander who made his big league debut with the Indians last July 8 and was 1-3 with a 7.20 ERA in 11 relief appearances. He has a 4.13 ERA in 28 relief appearances this year at Triple-A Columbus.

The 25-year-old Gregorio is 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 13 starts this year at Triple-A Sacramento.

New home-run record

when Justin Smoak's opposite-field drive dropped over the left-field wall in Toronto, an eye-popping record had been set: Batters reached a home run mark for a month, shattering the syringe-fueled high of the Steroids Era. Hitters went deep 1,101 times in June, topping the 1,069 of May 2000, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"Global warming! The warmer it is, the farther the baseball's going to fly," joked Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon.

Humor aside, it became clear that far more than just weightlifting gave batters a lift as the 20th century ended. Offense declined after drug testing with penalties started in 2004 and amphetamines were banned in 2006.

But batters have perked up since the second half of the 2015 season. Four of the top six home-run months have occurred in 2017 or last year, with June joined by this May (1,060) along with last August (1,053) and June (1,012).

Etc.

The New York Mets have activated right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler from the disabled list and placed outfielder Michael Conforto on the 10-day DL because of a bruised left hand. The Mets announced the moves before Saturday's game against the Philadelphia Phillies, which Wheeler (3-5, 5.29 ERA) started.

UPDATES:

7:10 p.m.: This article has been updated with news of David Paulino's drug suspension.

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This article was originally published at 10:05 a.m.

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